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How Your Smoking Affects Your Loved Ones

By Kelly Gillis

Your cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking doesn't only have an affect on your health. The U.S. Surgeon General's report "The Health Consequences of Smoking," released in 2004, states it has been proven that smoking (or living with a person who smokes) can cause disease in nearly every organ of the body, in men as well as women. This means that every time you "light up" you are potentially damaging the health of your children, your spouse and your loved ones.

It is a fact that second hand smoke (also known as environmental tobacco smoke or ETS) is a major cause of children's illness. As children have developing lungs and have higher breathing rates than adults they run the greatest risk of health effects. In children under the age of 18 second hand smoke has been linked with pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, upper respiratory tract irritation, increased severity of asthma and asthmatic symptoms. It has been associated with sudden infant death syndrome, middle ear infections, upper respiratory tract infections (colds and sore throats) and cancers and leukemia. Japanese researchers just released a study that suggests that second hand smoke may affect childrens gums. 70% of the children of smokers had a brownish or black pigmentation of their gums.

Statistics show that approximately 3,000 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer each year as a result of second hand smoke. Second hand smoke has been linked to nasal sinus cancer, cancer of the cervix, breast and bladder. Second hand smoke also causes an increased risk of death from heart disease.

If you must smoke, it is essential that you protect your loved ones, especially children. Don't smoke in your home. If you must smoke, smoke outside. Do not smoke in your car when your children are with you. Make sure that childcare providers and others who work in your home or around your children do not smoke.

There are many publications available to you free online that provide information on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and it's affects on your family. Visit the US Environmental Protection Agency at http://www.epa.gov/smokefree/publications.html for a free booklet.

The fact is that it's not only your own health at risk when you smoke. You quitting will make your loved ones healthier, and happier too.


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